Top 20 Reasons to Start your Own Quilting Business
Start a business or not start a business. Which way do I go? There are many reasons that people give for not going into business for themselves. It’s too risky, you might go into debt. There are just as many, if not more reasons to take the leap and start your own business.
Here are just a few:
1. Spare time. This one can take some time. Initially you’ll work longer hours getting your business set up and building it. But if you do it right, you could start to master your schedule and the freedom owning your own business has to offer. When owning your quilt finishing business, you can work as little or as much as you wish. Would you like to make a number of quilts a month to ensure that you have x amount of days off? Maybe you have a standing bridge date on Friday afternoons and you would like to keep that on your schedule. You can design that in.
2. A story to tell. When you own your own quilting business, you have a story to tell. In the past, when I told people that I owned my own construction business, expecially being a woman, they were amazed. In the 1970’s women in the construction world was almost unheard of. They always wanted to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going.
People are fascinated that quilting can be a business! Every time I mention that I am the head of marketing for a quilting machine dealer/company, they are just amazed and ask a million questions. People are mezmorized when I tell them about the distance of where quilting has come from since our Granny’s quilting to the high-tech machine driven and computerized quilting business that it is today! Before long into the conversation, I have to show them pictures of art quilts, modern quits and hand painted & quilted quilts. I am always able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story's chapters. (When working for a corporation, people most likely have less input.)
3. Tax benefits. For those that are purchasing their machine for business, there is a significant tax incentive program called Section 179, that enables an existing business or a start-up business to save on the purchase of their machine. If you are an official business you can also write off expenses like travel, food, phone bills, portions of car payments, and the list goes on. Also, certain startups qualify for government other incentives. Make sure to ask your accountant about what tax benefits you may be eligible for.
4. Pride. When you build something successful, it’s a great feeling. You had a vision, were able to execute it and not can reap the benefits of saying "I did this." On the other hand, it’s tough to be proud of the zillionth request for proposal you fill out for your employer.
I can tell you that when I looked back after 10, 20, 30 years and even today being in another career, I am so proud of what I achieved. I just look back in awe. I can’t believe I did that coming from being a shy young girl at the age of 18. Now I am 60 and when I started this career, I look back over the last 5 years and just gape in awe at what I have learned and done and what I keep learning and doing This can happen for you if you start today, tomorrow or even next week! You just have to make the decision to start and make a decision to believe in yourself.
5. Your posterity. If you’re a doctor, plumber or bus driver it’s hard to imagine you passing your career on to your loved ones. But if you own your own business, that’s something you can pass on to the next generation. And be proud of it, because you created it.
6. Job security. Have you ever been laid off, downsized, or fired? If you have, you get this. With owning your own business your security lies in the fact you are your own boss. You run the show and don't have to worry about getting let go. You get to grow your business as big as you wish or keep it as small as you wish. There is a huge need for quilters all over the country!
7. Networking. Quilters love to meet each other, swap stories, and learn from each other’s experiences. I don’t know a quilter alive that when you put them with other quilters that they are silent. There is so much sharing and learning with them! Great long-term relationships are created when quilters gather and meet each other. Your circle of friends and acquaintances always grows. When you become a business owner you will have customers that become acquaintances and even friends. You will also have the ability to network with other business owners to lean on to survive and talk about the challenges only known to them.
8. Doing good. While this isn’t exclusive to business owners, it’s definitely a perk. You control where your company profits go and if you choose, you can give allocated donations to your church, schools or other areas of your community. You can sponsor a charity, a non-profit or just personally give back to the community. This is quite honestly one of the best parts of being a business owner.
When I was a painting contractor, each year my company along with volunteers, painted other charitable organizations offices. We painted our local the offices for March of Dimes, a free health clinic, an animal shelter and several women’s shelters among the ones of the many that we did over the years. Doing good for my community did so much good for me inside and did so much good for my crew. Using our skills to help others certainly gave each of us validation of who we are, what our trade was worth and that we could give something of value to others.
9. Novelty. We, as humans, love new experiences but rarely can you experience a host of new things from inside your cubicle. This all changes when you are running the show. Starting a new business is a new experience for most of us over 50. Starting your own business will ensure you’ll always be facing new challenge and experiencing something new. Boredom is out the window! No day will be the same and you will meet people that you would have otherwise never met!
10. Mentorship. Having had mentors and getting to be a mentor have been some of the best experiences of my life. Learning from the masters and getting to help those less experienced than you gives you such a sense of satisfaction. From my experience (and other's stories) the business community is very willing to give back, teach other’s their craft and lend a helping hand.
11. Becoming an expert. This point goes along with mentorship. Regardless of what you do as a business owner, if you stick with it, you’ll probably become very good at it. And this gives you a sort of soapbox, so use it.
12. Skills. People ask me how I learned about SEO, building a website, writing copy, social media, write/direct/edit/produce trade videos, write and produce a monthly newsletter, Google Analytics, pay-per-click, graphic design, ad creation, PR and all the other marketing techniques I utilize. I tell them that I was forced to learn them, otherwise I wouldn't survive.
I was a contractor for over 39 years and when the housing crash came to Chicago, there was suddenly no estimates to be done, no work to be had, no money to be made. I no longer could make a living. I had to rack my brain after being a contractor painter and interior designer in the upscale Chicago residential market, what career was there available for me to do that was over $8 per hour? What new career would fit my skill set? I had been a contractor since the age of 18 and I didn’t know how I was going to survive!
The same way I was forced to learn how to do estimates, purchasing, write the contracts and do the actual painting work with my guys, I was forced to figure out what I was good at and then search for a place where I would fit. Today, I work for Accomplish Quilting and I have never looked back. I took a chance. I gave it a shot.
While developing new skills can be tough and takes time, it can pay off in spades. These skills will be invaluable throughout your life.
13. Determination. Everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur has affected me in my personal life. I used to be unbelieveably shy. My self-confidence was not high. I was quiet. But having been an entrepreneur business owner for over almost 4 decades has forced me to become outgoing, have confidence in myself, instill confidence into others, teach, train, lead and re-invent myself again and again.
14. Recognition. When you do great work, people love you! Recruiting new work happens when others rave about you and refer you. I never had to pay one dollar for advertising in my contracting business because my customers and most of their family would refer me. Many times, people who knew my work never even asked for an estimate. They knew that I was fair and from past experience, they knew about what I charged and just ask that I block off the time for their project and all I had to do was walk in the door and do the work. When the work was complete, I wrote out the bill, got the check and went home!
I didn’t have to prove myself after a while. I got keys to houses, security codes, was served meals by many of my customers while I was there working and treated like a celebrity (they were happy that I was there!) when I arrived and a good friend when I was leaving. This should not be your only reason to start your business, but it certainly is a great feeling when you receive this recognition.
15. Financial independence. Let’s be honest, this is probably the biggest reason people get into business for themselves. And that’s a good thing! You should want financial independence. However you define financial independence – retirement stockpile, unlimited cash potential or having the money to buy what you want –owning your own business can allow you to achieve it. Trust me, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make finding happiness much easier. And it increases your “stash” LOL.
16. Reinvention. Many of you have worked for the same company for many years if you were so lucky. Others know the feeling of being let go because of the economy or business reconstruction. Others have been in the same field for a long time and really don’t enjoy what they do. After the housing crash, as difficult as it was, I was presented with an opportunity to fall flat of my face and take the defeat or reinvent myself all over again. If you would have ever told me that I would have been a painting contractor for 39 years or the head of marketing for a medium-sized company, I would have laughed. I had planned on being a nurse after getting out of high school!
By accident, I found that I was a good painter and after a great deal of on the job training I became a great painter and designer. I graduated from the painting and designing school of Hard Work and Hard Knocks!
My record with AQ’s marketing and ranking on the internet proved that I was one of the best SEO’s. Who would have ever thought that? Not I! But to be honest with you, once we set our mind on re-creating ourselves, the sky is the limit! If you will apply yourself, you too can realize your dream!
I can honestly say that I have never felt like I have “worked” a day in my life-no matter how long the day was or how tired from work that I was, because I loved every minute of what I was doing. If a person has one career they love, that is wonderful. Having two careeres they love is beyond amazing! So either way, if you hated your profession and want to do something else or you are creating your second career, if you love quilting and you would love being a business owner you have an excellent opportunity to achieve your dreams.
17. Change the world. Everyone jokes that every entrepreneur says they’re going to change the world. Especially when we are young. Well in the quilting business, I doubt that might happen but you could change YOUR world. You could help change your community. Look at Missouri Star for example. Missouri Star Quilt Company not only changed the world of quilting, they changed their own community.
18. Create jobs. Again, Missouri Star Quilt Company is a great example. They employ most of the town where the business is located. Accomplish Quilting employs about 20 people combined in 3 states. We take it seriously that the lives and futures of all our destinies are in all of our hands. That is why the team works as a well-oiled team. Our futures are realized by all the hard work that we do for the company, for ourselves and especially our customers. We all have a stake in the game.
In the quilting business, if and when you grow it large enough, you will be able to hire people. You could hire a counter person that also doubles as the quilt loader and binder. If you are large enough, you could have two, three or even 6 machines running. THAT takes staff. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you’re responsible for the success of your employees. Your ideas provided them the opportunity to earn a living, provide for their family and fulfill their own dreams.
19. Your brand. Being known for something is awfully enjoyable. People may start referring to you as THE GO-TO guru for quilt finishing. Whatever it is you’re recognized as, it’s fun to build that brand and earn that recognition.
20. Your reason. I’ve given you a list of why I think you should get into business. But all that really matters is your reason to start your own business. So, what is it? What lights your heart on fire? What makes you come alive when the subject is raised?
Can you “see” yourself in your mind's eye of you in your new role? Imagine that. What would that look like? What would your physical business look like? How would that make you feel? Proud? Excited? Nervous?
How would you design, decorate and bring to life YOUR very own business?
Dare to dream. A wish is a goal without a plan.
Your future is up to you! I wish you the best! Fena D'Ottavio, AQ Marketing
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Accomplish Quilting, Inc. 810 Napier Ave. St. Joseph, MI 49085 866-556-2552 269-556-2552
Accomplish Quilting, Inc. 1746 E. 86th Street Indianapolis, IN 46240 317-478-1422
Accomplish Quilting, Inc. 855 Springfield Hwy Suite 109 Goodlettsville, TN 37072 615-756-9556 269-759-9979
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